Hello fellow Ajarnees,
I am wondering what it's like to teach English at a vocational school. Does anyone have any experience teaching in this area?
I was just offered a full-time position teaching 22 hours per week for 25,000 baht a month at a vocational school in Chiang Mai. This would be my first job, and I am concerned with the teaching environment, schedule, attitude of students, comparisons between other teaching settings and age groups, etc.
The experience is more important to me than the salary, because it does seem a bit low, but probably average for Chiang Mai. My goal is to teach at an international school eventually, and I think starting out at a vocational school would be good experience in my case.
I'd like to hear your thoughts on this. Feel free to criticize and make a mockery of my situation. Brutally honest opinions are welcome, but some encouragement and sound advice/expert opinions would be nice.
“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” -Friedrich Nietzsche
This is the newbie zone so I'll be gentle.
You'll be teaching A.B.C's to 16-year-olds. Kids in vocational schools are there because they either failed the entry tests to get into M4 (high school) or had no hope so didn't even write them in the first place.
Will it look good on your resume as you aim for an "international" school = unlikely.
Is it an entry level job as an EFL teacher in Thailand = yes.
^ Sorry, I think that's an unfair generalization. Because I taught M6 students who were headed to Technical Schools. Having spent not a few years as a blue collar worker myself; I know the attitude of ignorance on the part of white collar workers who have no idea.
So, if one has a clue, and can see/think outside of the box; then teaching in a technical school is potentially very rewarding, really. Make a difference!
Frederick Douglass: Find out just what any people will quietly submit to
and you have found out the exact measure of injustice
and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these
will continue till they are resisted with either
words or blows, or with both.
“Don’t believe them, don’t fear them, don’t ask
anything of them.”
It'll be a real struggle, to put it frankly. Four hours a week of vocational English teaching is okay, you can liven it up with games, etc and have some fun with them. With all due respect to THX, if vocational students are all you're teaching on a full timetable with big classes it'll be both exhausting and frustrating. Also I'm sure ttompatz is right, I can't see that an international school would be impressed by vocational teaching on your CV.
If I may ask, do you have credentials to work in an international school?
Killer student gangs, the ASEAN commission agenda, low salary, unmotivated students...hmm...sounds pretty good so far. Thanks everyone for the honest opinions.
A tough first gig I would suggest. The problem as others have mentioned is trying to get 16 year olds who on the whole have little or no English to become enthuised about something they have avoided for so many years. Yes you can play games and have fun with them but the real reason they have no English is often they don't have the basics. Trying to get 16 year olds to learn from the start again is time consuming and a real challenge. If you are up for the challenge then go for it.
...many (if not most) vocational "students" have already been defeated by life: no hope of an iPhone 5 unless it's stolen, no hope of a pretty gf unless she's blind and retarded, no hope of learning to understand and appreciate their better angels...many (if not most) look forward to a life of drudgery in the swamp, enlivened only by weekend lao khao, a paddy roll with whoever's available, tv footban, and the constant tease of a better life next time around...what, under such circumstances, is their motivation to learn English? It is a cruel mockery brought to them by the very politicians who buy their votes, turn their family members into prostitutes, and discard them once their useful years are over...
...avoid such pits of hopeless depravity...why be a tour guide in hell?...
...majestically enthroned amid the vulgar herd...
^ I've never thought or said that; it's a job. Better than many, far worse than some.
I have no idea about the BKK Syndrome aka, tech school's wars with each other. here in the provinces Matayom and tech schools are very contentious, but rarely end in more than a fight or two.
Remember, I worked as a production engineer here; and had 10 technicians directly under me as was the 110 assemblers, finishers, and packagers. I was the only farang for 90+% of the time. A great experience and a great crew.
You might think some of this is discouraging me, but in fact it is motivating me and informing me of how I should approach these types of students. A lot of what you guys are saying is helpful, whether it be cynical or idealistic. I volunteered at a vocational school already, and it was the most enjoyable experience I've had compared with kindergarten, primary, secondary, and private lessons. To each his own I guess. I'm going to give it a shot.
After doing more research, I don't know why I was thinking working at a vocational college would be good for future work in an international school. Just an assumption. But I do think the experience in general is important. I think the best thing to do is get some teaching experience, then work on getting some real teacher credentials, such as post bachelor certifications and licenses.
Last edited by typ123; 5th September 2012 at 21:29.